Dismay as Coastguard debate postponed

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Dismay has been expressed after a planned Parliamentary debate on the Coastguard modernisation was postponed at the last minute this afternoon (Tuesday).

The move was condemned by SNP Westminster Transport spokesperson and MP for Na h-Eileanan an Iar Angus MacNeil.

Now Mr MacNeill has demanded that Thursday’s debate by the House of Commons Backbench Business Committee be reinstated.

Hit out Mr MacNeil: “The future of Coastguard services is a matter of life and death and it is disgraceful that this debate has been ditched at just forty-eight hours notice.

“It must be unprecedented for a debate to be erased from the order paper. The committee members – none of who represent coastal constituencies - have postponed any debate until 24 March – which is the last day of the coastguard consultation.

“We needed the debate now as promised, to vent and exchange views to inform the final consultation. The utter disregard of dropping a debate on coastguards really beggars belief. Rescheduling the debate for 24 March will mean it is buried after the Budget.”

Mr MacNeil said the only hope now is for the Department of Transport to delay the consultation to allow the issue to be properly aired in Parliament. “Although, with the disdain already shown to the Coastguards, our maritime insurance policy, I hold no great hopes that this utterly disgraceful situation will be rectified,” added Mr Angus Macneil.